The Problem With Cheerios

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The Problem With Cheerios

Cheerios is a breakfast cereal that’s been around longer than I have. First introduced in 1941 as CheeriOats, it’s not much more than its original namesake: pulverized oats shaped like a donut.

My grandkids require a stock of the little round oat cereal, thus the brightly colored box sits in the pantry, ready for their breakfast on the occasional sleepover at Oma and Pappa’s.

I don’t think I’ve eaten a Cheerio in the last 60 years but yesterday I ran out of the whole grain cereal I like and dived in for lack of anything else to eat. I poured in a decent amount of the cute brown donut shaped cereal, added just the right amount of Almond Milk so they just barely floated—wading, actually—then layered the top of the meal with fresh cut strawberries.

My expectation was a breakfast the way I like it: a spoonful of milk, the sweetness of the strawberry, the crunch of the cereal. I got the first two, but the second had vanished. Turns out that after even a few minutes of swimming in liquid, Cheerios dissolves into a brown mélange of tasteless pulverized grain floating atop the milk. Not what I expected.

And that’s the point of this post, expectations. My grandkids like Cheerios because they dissolve in milk. I won’t use them as a last resort meal again for exactly the same reason.

Our expectations set bias. When we expect a piece of gear to perform a certain way—perhaps musical, powerful, and authoritative—and we get delicate, airy, and reserved instead, we almost always ignore its strong points because our expectations mask them.

I do my best to find the positive in every experience, but I just gotta say, Cheerios won’t be filling my bowl again.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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